With blue wristbands still ornamenting proud wrists across the 5Cs and stories from Indio dominating lunchtime conversations, those of us who weren’t lucky enough to make it to the behemoth that is Coachella may be starting to get a little annoyed. We’ve started to sigh at the name “Arcade Fire,” tune out upon hearing the words “five feet away,” and scowl angrily at anyone who dares tell us one more time that it was “the best weekend ever.” We get it. You’re cooler than us, and we missed out on the experience of a lifetime by saving our $500 and pathetically YouTube-ing “Rebellion (Lies)” on the quad instead of joining you at the music festival to end all music festivals.
Fortunately for both the philistine spendthrifts and Coachella-goers alike, this weekend we have another opportunity to sway, mosh, and day-drink to our heart’s content: the 38th annual student-run Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival. Sponsored by Pitzer College, Harvey Mudd College, the CMC Senate, CCLA, and KSPC, Kohoutek brings an eclectic roster of artists to perform for two days on the Pitzer mounds.
The best news for thrifty music-lovers? This festival is free.
“We want to share and celebrate the Pitzer community,” said Daniela Kronenberg PZ ’11, chair of the Kohoutek Planning Committee. “I think if we start to charge admissions we will be losing the essence of Kohoutek—to sit with the people you love, listen to damn good music, make some art and enjoy the weekend—and that would be a tragedy.”
Electronic-rock duo Phantogram and the indie-electronica Octopus Project are headlining this year's festival on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. Phantogram, which consists of guitarist Josh Carter and keyboardist Sarah Barthel, hails from Saratoga Springs, NY. The duo has opened for bands like Metric and The xx, and their up-tempo, danceable tunes have recently been gathering widespread attention.
“[It’s] good dance music, good swaying music, a little synthy,” Kronenberg commented.
Their performance at Kohoutek comes after an appearance last weekend at—you guessed it—Coachella. Their set promises to be one not to miss; in fact, members of the Kohoutek planning committee wanted the duo to come so badly that, according to Kronenberg, they practically begged.
Octopus Project is a KSPC favorite from Austin, Texas. The band is known for its synthesis of pop sensibility with offbeat electronic accents. Its music is mainly instrumental, with a quirky twist: rather than each playing a set instrument, the members of the band switch around on drums, guitar, bass, and keyboard, often in the middle of a performance.
“They put on a great show, they’re great musicians and personalities,” Kronenberg said. “[Their music is] trance-y, it’s electronic, it’s all over the place in a great way.”
Both headliners were chosen by the 20-person Kohoutek planning committee, which includes members from across the 5Cs. For the selection process, the committee listened to a wide range of bands before proposing headliners in the fall. The group then narrowed the list down to five, and the final two were ultimately chosen based on a variety of factors, including student interest and cost.
Yet the Kohoutek experience is about much more than the nights’ big-name concerts. The rest of the festival’s lineup begs for some daytime lounging and listening on the mounds, with local bands from the LA area (or, in the case of Nora and the Brights, our own campus) dominating the list. A few not to miss? The disco house music of Seattle’s Beat Connection proved a hit when the duo performed at Table Manners a few weeks ago, and the LA-based He’s My Brother She’s My Sister—previously openers for Edward Sharpe—will feature their tap-dancer band member, who is sure to bust his moves during their performance.
The festival will also feature several spaces for viewing and creating art, as well as just hanging out. A large plastic bubble will sit on Commencement Plaza, filled with artworks and illuminated by glowing lights. A collection of tents deemed “Kohou-Tent City” will dot the mounds, open for anyone who wants to escape the crowds and make art with the abundant supplies provided.
“I have a strong belief that music and art should be shared with anyone and everyone,” Kronenberg said. “You’re going to come early in the day and your mind is going to be blown by the experience.”
Take that, Coachella.
Kohoutek begins at 4 p.m. today. For more information about the festival's lineup, go to http://kohoutek2011.blogspot.com/.